Serial Bankruptcy Filers Blocked by Tampa Judges

Law Firm Newswire



Brandon, FL (Law Firm Newswire) October 28, 2015 – Those who repeatedly file bankruptcy in an effort to stop foreclosure on their homes may find their tactics thwarted in Tampa, Florida.

Tampa area bankruptcy judges found that some people were taking advantage of a taxed and overloaded bankruptcy system by filing bankruptcy again and again, each time bringing a stop to foreclosure proceedings. A procedure was put in place by which a judge can order anyone filing a third time to show cause why they should be allowed to proceed.

O. Reginald Osenton said that while he supports efforts to rein in serial filers, he hopes that judges exercise caution and restraint in barring anyone from filing bankruptcy.

“Bankruptcy immediately halts any foreclosure proceedings, and this is an important protection,” Osenton said. “It protects debtors from having their homes taken away while they figure out a new financial plan for their lives. As long as these judicial actions are taken only against those who abuse the system, then it benefits the court and bankruptcy filers by keeping the system flowing smoothly.”

The Tampa Bay Times reported in June 2015 that 85 Tampa Bay residents had so far been prohibited from refiling for up to two years.

Judges are also cracking down on bankruptcy petition preparers who help serial filers. Preparers are non-attorneys who help debtors draw up the paperwork for a fee. The Times reported that two preparers agreed to stop helping serial filers after Judge Catherine Peek McEwen threatened to order them to return client fees.

“I recommend that anyone considering filing for bankruptcy speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney,” Osenton said.